Scots go Toe to Toe with IMG
IMG Academy 14|Highland Park 12
The Scots Are Dangerous
IMG Academy from Bradenton, Florida is on a grueling Texas road trip playing 5 games in 5 days in 2 cities. The Ascenders took on Southlake for their first game of the trip and after a 4-4 tie at half, IMG got loose scoring the next 9 goals while conceding 0 in the 2nd half en route to a 13-4 win over the very talented Southlake Dragons.
Next up for IMG was Highland Park on Monday night at Coppell Middle School North in what was an extremely spirited contest that IMG won 14-12. Highland Park came out swinging and jumped out to a 4-1 lead with 1:54 remaining in the first quarter. IMG responded and scored twice in the final minutes of the 1st to bring the game back to 4-3 in the Scots' favor.
Early in the 2nd quarter, Highland Park failed a clear and the game was tied up at 4. HP would again take the lead at 5-4 before the Ascenders went on a 4-1 run to finish the half with an 8-6 lead.
Highland Park’s offensive depth is scary this year and it was on full display Monday night. The Scots managed to have 6 different goal scorers on all 6 of their first half markers. George Wright, Sam Wheeler, Jake Jent, Thomas Mencke, Jackson Holmes, and Harrison Key all found the back of the net while moving the ball with purpose and relentlessly attacking the cage.
One of the more impressive traits of IMG Academy is their ability to start quarters quickly with explosive offensive runs as they did against Southlake in the 3rd quarter on Sunday afternoon. To have a chance, you must stop their runs and Highland Park was able to do just that. The Ascenders scored on the 1st two possessions of the 3rd quarter extending the lead to 10-6. The Scots responded with two goals of their own to bring it back to 10-8 before IMG would get one more and head into the 4th with an 11-8 lead.
Coming out of the intermission, IMG would score 3 goals in the first 3 minutes of the final frame to take a 14-8 lead. It felt like IMG may have finally hit stride and could run away with the game. Alas, Harrison Key stopped the run and absolutely went off. Over the span of the next 6 minutes, Key scored 3 buckets to bring the score back to 14-11. Sam Wheeler scored the final tally on an incredible handle and finish inside for the final score of 14-12.
Key Pulling Up From Deep
Highland Park is LOADED with talent and could be the early season favorite to win it all. To go toe to toe for 4 quarters with IMG in the first game of the year shows some serious potential and depth from top to bottom. Starting at the face-off X, Navy commit Anthony Ghobriel is an issue for opponents. In cage, Ben Abel plays big beyond his years as a sophomore. In front of Abel at close defense are BIG athletes with solid sticks and on offense they’re seemingly unfair. Jake Jent (1g, 1a), Harrison Key (4g, 1a), George Wright (1g), and Jackson Holmes(1g) are all VERY good athletes that can get up and down the field.
The attack unit is just at scary. Thomas Mencke (2g, 1a), Sam Wheeler (2g, 1a), Brooks Bond (1g), and Charlie Fielder are equally athletic as the rest, are developing great chemistry, and ride balls back with intensity.
The Highland Park Scots will be really fun to watch as they round into mid season form and build off their impressive showing against IMG. The next two games for HP are against Westlake on Saturday and ESD on Tuesday. Come this time next week, the Scots will be battled tested.
Hold on tight. This season is already promising to be one for the books and we’re not even to Spring Break yet! Stay dialed to the #StickStarReport21 as we bring you more game coverage than ever before.
Key to Wheeler
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